Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Cookbook Review
I pack a lunch for work almost everyday. I rarely go out for lunch because it is such a hassle. I work at a courthouse so I would have get through the security when I got back and at least 15-20 minutes would have to be devoted to just getting to may car and finding a good parking spot when I returned (which just isn't going to happen!). I also try to pack things that don't need re-heated because I have limited access to the microwave. I have a thermos that I'll use when I am not feeling particularly lazy in the morning and have time to heat up leftovers or a can of soup/pasta to put in it but whatever I pack in it isn't particular piping hot; more like lukewarm. Which is sad because it very cold in my office and crave hot soup sometimes.
I get so bored when all I have to pack in my lunchbox is a sandwich. I really try to get creative and love bento style lunches. I also try to eat a healthy and balanced lunch. I recently discovered I like hummus, especially the stuff with roasted red pepper in it. I have stumbled across a few recipes but never dared to try them because roasting a red pepper would a pain in the butt. I was wrong. It's so simple a caveman can do it (no offense to any cave-people out there).
I also happened to buy a wonderful cookbook at Kohl's. It's called The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox by Nicola Graimes. It has a ton of beautiful pictures and real easy to follow recipes. I'm hoping to spice up my lunchtime choices with this awesome resource. So far I have only tried her hummus recipe and if they are all as wonderful as this was I am not going to be disappointed.
The recipe has a couple of steps but it comes together fast. The first thing to do is to roast 1 red pepper. This can be done ahead of time and placed in the fridge until your ready to make the dip. I totally forgot that I had this pepper in the fridge. I found it languishing in the back corner and got to it just in time! So if it looks a little wrinkly that's why.
All you have to do to roast a pepper is first cut the pepper in half. Then take a deep breath and force yourself to get over your weird and strange aversion to clustered seeds things. Remove seeds. Let out a huge sigh of relief when done. Seriously, they give me the heebie jeebies! Eggplant seeds are horrible too and I have to close my eyes to eat dill pickle spears so I don't seed their little seeds poking out like a disease.
Okay, moving on....
Place cut halves on foil lined baking sheet and coat pepper skins with a bit of olive oil. Place in preheated 400*F oven for about 30 minutes or until the skin has some black char on it. Be careful! Don't burn it just get a bit toasty.
Remove from oven and let cool till pan is no longer hot to touch. I like to place the peppers under some plastic wrap to trap in the steam and help loosen up that skin.
As soon as the peppers are completely cool, peel off the skin. It should come off real easy like.
After removing skin you can store in the fridge until your to put in your recipe or use immediately. I find that my roasted pepper will last for about a week in the fridge before getting wonky. I imagine it would last longer if frozen. I may try that to see if it works out so I can make this hummus at a moments notice.
Other ingredients needed for this recipe are: salt, pepper, olive oil, tahini paste, a can of chickpeas, a couple cloves of garlic (not pictured), lemon juice (also not pictured because I'm a goofball) and some water.
Place all items in the food processor and blend to your desired consistency. I like a little bit of chunk to mine.
Place in reusable container and top with a little bit of olive oil.
I love this stuff! It is so addictive. I like to dip my baby carrots and cucumber slices into it. If you have some pita chips your so lucky! Best chip and dip combo on the planet!
I really do love this cookbook. I can't wait to try out the other recipes and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to add some variety to their or their children's lunchbox.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
from The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox by Nicola Graimes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and halved
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 heaped tbsp. light tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp water
1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Place bell pepper halves on a baking pan covered with foil. Coat halves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast pepper until skin blister and blackens. About 30 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove skin.
2. In food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, water, remaining olive oil and the roasted pepper. blend until desired consistency occasionally stopping processor to scrape down sides.
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in an airtight container drizzling a little olive oil on top before storing/serving.